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Posted by on in Ants

When planning the most efficient electric grids or water networks, designers might want to look to ants for inspiration.

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"The striking thing about ants is that they build their networks without any central planning. Unlike human systems, there is no single ant having the big picture," says Arianna Bottinelli, a math professor at the Uppsala University, in Finland. By studying these networks, Bottinelli has created a mathematical solution to apply these networks to human planning. Learn more about this cool concept here.

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Posted by on in Community

We would like to take this opportunity to extend our sincerest gratitude toward our brave men and women that serve and sacrifice for the common good of our country. Your patriotism and love for the United States helps to continue the way of life that Americans are privileged to live every day. Thank You.  

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Posted by on in Rodents

When we think of rats, most of us think of New York City. However, a very interesting study on disease-carrying rats is currently underway in New Orleans at Tulane University by molecular ecologist Michael Blum and his team of researchers. They are working to develop a mathematical model that could simulate how environmental changes affect rodent populations in the area at hand.

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This data would come in handy when developing daily management initiatives and in times of natural disasters in determining where the rat populations might relocate to. This could further aid in prevention of diseases and pathogens rats can spread that threaten human health.

New Orleans is the perfect place for this type of study because of the unique conditions created by hurricane Katrina. For three months in the summer and three months in the winter, the researchers must lay and collect traps and collect data accordingly. Unlike most situations, when this team finds a rat, it is cause for celebration!

 

Learn more about this cool study here.

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Scientists are studying different types of beetles and moths with hopes that they might help us better understand climate change. A previos long term study revealed migration changes and behaviors among several species, revealing to scientists, as the climate changes so does their habitat and conditions in which they survive. This change in migration is creating invasive species and potential harm to ecosystems. Can insects predict climate change? Not exactly. Learn more here

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Posted by on in In The News

It is never a nice feeling to walk into your kitchen and see a cockroach scurrying across the floor. Common reactions include disgust, fear, screaming, crying and throwing shoes or other nearby objects hoping it will evaporate into thin air and never come back. Most people hate cockroaches. Most people, excluding scientists.

Cockroaches have long been attributed to making us sick. Their presence in our homes is a common allergen, especially among children, and their ability to spread diseases has made them one of the most loathed pests. However, now these yucky bugs are serving as a form of inspiration in the scientific world. We’ve shared videos in the past or robotic cockroaches that are being used by the military but it doesn’t end there.

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The insects that can make a stomach churn with just one glance are now being recognized for their healing properties. Their ability to thrive in filthy environments could help scientists in the development of drugs to combat E. coli and MRSA. Some other remedies like cockroach syrup, cockroach tea and powdered cockroach cream are also being used to treat human ailments from tetanus to topical burns. A cockroaches’ range of motion and able legs are also inspiring the design prosthetic legs and hands for humans.

 

Who knew these pests could actually be used to our benefit?

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